Airships: A New Horizon for Science

April 30 - May 3, 2013
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Final Report

Workshop Overview:

In recent years, aerospace has seen a revival in airship technology. As of yet, scientists have not capitalized on what could be an ideal platform for various types of instruments with a wide variety of key science goals. We propose to gather experts in science and industry, including earth and atmospheric scientists, optical and infra-red observers in both planetary science and astrophysics, terahertz and millimeter observers, gravitational wave instrumentalists, as well as current airship technology experts, e.g., representatives from Near Space Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and the Southwest Research Institute, in order to explore how science can best utilize the new airship platforms.

Specifically we aim to:

  1. Inform scientists of the capabilities of airship vehicles as instrumental platforms, as well as discuss how this technology could be expanded and improved to better accommodate science instrumentation requirements.
  2. Identify science observational/experimental projects that are uniquely addressed by airship vehicles, and determine which of these science goals could be simultaneously accommodated in one platform.
  3. Construct pilot (multi-)science project concepts for each viable airship platform, including how projects would be funded, managed/operated, and maintained as a coordinated effort between academia, agencies, and industry.

By opening up the sky and Earth's horizon in affordable ways with long-term flexibility, complementing the great space observatories and high-altitude balloon science, we can continue to push technology and science forward in a projectrich environment.

Workshop Participants:

  • Geoffrey A. Blake - Caltech
  • Jeff Booth - JPL
  • David E. Carlile - Lockheed Martin ADP
  • Frederick G. Edworthy - Aeros
  • Robert A. Fesen - Dartmouth College
  • Brent A. Freeze - Sorlox Corporation
  • Randall R. Friedl - JPL
  • Paul F. Goldsmith - JPL
  • Jeffery L. Hall - JPL
  • Lynne A. Hillenbrand - Caltech
  • Scott E. Hoffman - Northrop Grumman
  • Scott E. Hovarter - Lockheed Martin Space Systems
  • Rebecca M. Jensen-Clem - Caltech
  • Ross M. Jones - JPL
  • Jens Kauffmann - Caltech
  • Alina Kiessling - JPL
  • Oliver G. King - Caltech
  • Nick Konidaris - Caltech
  • Timothy L. Lachenmeier - Near Space Corporation
  • Steven D. Lord - Caltech
  • Sarah H. Miller - Caltech/UCR
  • Jessica Neu - JPL
  • Gregory R. Quetin - University of Washington
  • Alan Ram - Northrop Grumman
  • Jason D. Rhodes - JPL
  • Stanley P. Sander - JPL
  • Marc Simard - JPL
  • Steve Smith - Southwest Research Institute
  • Sara Susca - JPL
  • Abigail L.S. Swann - University of Washington
  • Eliot F. Young - Southwest Research Institute
  • Thomas Zambrano - AeroVironment, Inc.

Short Course Presentations

Sarah Holmes Miller
UC Riverside/Caltech

Introduction of Airships: A New Horizon for Science
(12 MB pdf)

Rob Fesen
Dartmouth College

Timeliness of Science on Airships
(16 MB pdf)

Jens Kauffmann

Why Airships? Comparisons of Airships to other Science Platforms
(50 MB pdf)

Steve Lord

Atmospheric Considerations and Advantages
(10 MB pdf)

Randy Friedl

Airships and Earth Science Opportunities
(11 MB pdf)

Geoff Blake

Key Science Opportunities from Airships in Planetary and Small Bodies Science
(5.8 MB pdf)

Mike Werner

Astrophysics v. Airships
(371 KB pdf)

Paul Goldsmith

Airship Platform for Long‐Wavelength Astrophysics
(1 MB pdf)

Workshop Presentations

Steve Smith
Southwest Research Institute

HiSentinel and Stratospheric Airship Design Sensitivity
(1.6 MB pdf)

Tim Lachenmeier
Near Space Corporation

The Latest Airship Technology From Near Space Corporation
(2.7 MB pdf)

Scott Hoffman/ Alan Ram
Northrup Grumman

Medium Altitude Airship Overview
(2 MB pdf)

Scott Hovarter/ Dave Carlile
from Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin Lighter-Than-Air Programs
(5.4 MB pdf)

Fred Edworthy

Airship Technology from Aeros
(1.3 MB pdf)

Ross Jones

NASA STP Flight Opportunities Program [FOP]
(150 KB pdf)